Move over vanilla and chocolate.
Just in time for summer, artisan ice-cream makers have put a freeze on those traditional tastes by launching a host of wacky flavors. Ingredients like lobster, corn-flakes cereal, whiskey, beer, jalapeno and habanero peppers, Champagne, bacon and more have made their way into cones and pints.
Here are eight of the best, from Maine to Southern California and many spots between.
Where: Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, Bar Harbor, Maine, and Northampton and Vineyard Haven, Mass.
Seafood in your ice cream? In Maine, America’s lobster capital, and Massachusetts, a close runner-up, it’s not unusual to order up a scoop of lobster ice cream. “The lobster ice cream is real Maine lobster cooked, picked, buttered and folded into a buttery vanilla ice cream,” says Adrienne Buckley, assistant manager of Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium Maine shop. “A previous manager (Jeff Young) created this delightful ice cream and we have featured it ever since.”
Available at shops in Bar Harbor, Maine; and Northampton and Vineyard Haven, Mass.
2. Rhubarb & Saffron Champagne Cocktail
Where: Salt & Straw, Portland, Oregon
Portland’s cult favorite Salt & Straw, which unleashes a new batch of farm-to-cone flavors monthly, came up with Rhubarb & Saffron Champagne inspired by a rhubarb spritzer created by Portland bartender Evan Zimmerman of The Woodsman Tavern. Described as Champagne ice cream with a tart ribbon of saffron and rhubarb jelly, it’s one of the flavors in the “Summer Cocktail Ice Cream Series” where the ice cream chain worked with the city’s mixologists to come up with quirky flavors based on classic drinks.
Available online via Salt & Straw or at its Portland scoop shop.
3. Silver Gulch Forty Below Stout
Where: Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream, Fairbanks, Alaska
Beer in ice cream is all the rage. Hot Licks jumped on that brew wagon, with a partnership with Alaska’s Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co., to create a flavor that folds the brewery’s signature Stepping Stone Stout into the ice cream. “The rich stout with hints of coffee and chocolate makes a delicious ice-cream flavor enjoyed by young and old alike,” says Dorothee Wool, owner of Hot Licks.
Available at the Fairbanks shop.
Where: Purple Door Ice Cream, Milwaukee
Snug in Brew City’s up-and-coming foodie district, Walker's Point, Purple Door uses Kinnickinnic Whiskey – which comes from Milwaukee’s Great Lakes Distillery just up the street –to make this treat with a kick. Purple Door, which opened its first and only scoop shop in April, makes and sells all its ice cream under the same roof.
Available online via Purple Door, at its Milwaukee shop or at retailers throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.
5. Saison With Sunflower Seeds & Golden Flax
Where: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Is it even possible to put a health bent into ice cream? Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is trying with this flavor. It takes milk from grass-fed cows, mixes it with Lancaster, Ohio’s Rockmill Brewery ale, and adds flax and sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Once a coveted treat in Columbus, Ohio, Jeni’s is now nationwide with scoop shops in Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta and Charleston, S.C., plus retailers around the country, although this flavor is an online exclusive.
Available online via Jeni’s.
6. Bacon Jalapeno Popper
Where: Amy’s Ice Creams, Texas
The spicy, fried taste of jalapeno poppers, a bar-food staple, is weaved into this Amy’s Ice Cream flavor, just one of the creamery’s 350. A touch of lime mingles with bacon, jalapeno peppers and cream cheese in yet another dessert’s ode to everyone's fried pork favorite.
Available at Amy’s Ice Creams’ shops in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas
7. Milk and Cereal
Where: Afters Ice Cream, Fountain Valley, Califonia
Leave it to Southern California to put a spin on a kid’s favorite meal with Milk and Cereal. As one of the rotating scoops at Afters Ice Cream, the flavor tries to replicate the “beautifully sugared milk” you get after you finish a bowl of cereal. “We took it one step further with our ice cream by creating a specially baked corn flake that has been lightly caramelized, salted and sugared,” explains owner Scott Nghiem.
Available at the Afters Ice Cream shop.
8. Carrot Habanero Pepper
Where: Steve’s Ice Cream, Brooklyn, New York
It’s not often that a great tasting ice cream is also vegan friendly. Steve’s Ice Cream– in business since the early ‘70s – makes this carrot-infused treat that gets spice from the habanero peppers and silky sweetness from coconut cream, carrot juice and organic bourbon vanilla extract.
Available online via Steve’s Ice Cream or at retailers nationwide.